Young believers need to be clearly warned today against several religious sects which masquerade as Christian and yet, in reality, are nothing of the kind. Quite likely you will come into contact with members of one group or other in school, college, university, place of employment or simply on the doorstep.
Be warned—it is not enough that the exponents of some particular set of doctrines possess warm and pleasant personalities and show a fervent zeal in their work. What they believe and what they teach matter enormously.
The Bible imparts a great deal of information about many subjects, and Christians often differ in their views about the interpretation and relative importance of some of these. There are, however, certain basic teachings of Scripture which are held in common by all true Christians. These fundamentals of the Christian faith include such doctrines as: (a) the inspiration and unique authority of the Bible; (b) the Holy Trinity—involving the Deity of Christ and the personality and Deity of the Holy Spirit; (c) the virgin birth of Christ; (d) His death as a sacrifice for sin; (e) His bodily resurrection; (/) salvation by faith; (g) the Lord’s personal return; (A) the eternal, conscious blessedness of believers and the eternal, conscious suffering of the lost. These doctrines provide us with a yardstick by which to test all professing Christian movements and groups.
Those who fail this test are to be regarded, not as brethren in Christ but, as enemies of the gospel!
The following cults each propagate teachings which are unsound on most if not all the above points—Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Christian Science and the Moonies. We need to be on our guard because the tactics adopted by these sects are very subtle. In their first contact, they often attempt to deceive non-members into believing that they are fairly orthodox in their views, and therefore tend to avoid direct mention of their distinctive (and heretical) doctrines. Full details of their unvarnished beliefs are usually confined to publications aimed at their own members or very interested contacts. The purpose of this article is to unmask these sects by exposing some of their false teachings. The following extracts are all taken from sources regarded as authoritative by the relevant cult. Make no mistake—each of the quotations represents very serious error! They are poison! Please consider carefully, by way of contrast, the texts of Scripture which follow the extracts.
Founded by Charles Russell (1852—1916). “Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society” was incorporated in 1884. Called “Jehovah’s Witnesses” since 1931. Printed propaganda consists mainly of the magazines, “Watchtower” and “Awake!”.
Teachings. “Satan is the originator of the trinity doctrine”: Matt. 28. 19. “He (Christ) is not the author of the creation of God”: John 1. 3. “The holy spirit is … not a person” but “is the invisible active force of Almighty God”: John 16. 7. “His (Christ’s) perfect human life, with all its rights and prospects, was laid down in death, but not for sin”: 1 Cor. 15. 3. “Jehovah disposed of that (Christ’s) body in his own way, just as he disposed of the body of Moses”; Luke 24. 39. “All who … faithfully carry out their dedication will be rewarded with everlasting life”: John 3. 36. “The doctrine of a burning hell where the wicked are tortured eternally after death cannot be true”: Rev. 20. 15.
Founded by Joseph Smith Jnr. (1805-1844). Organized as the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints” in 1830.
Teachings. “We do not ascribe final authority to any of its (the Bible’s) statements”. “Guided by the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and the Spirit of the Lord, it is not difficult for one to discover the errors in the Bible”: 2 Tim. 3. 16. “The doctrine of a plurality of gods is as prominent in the Bible as any other doctrine”. “These three (Father, Son and Spirit) constitute … three Gods”: 1 Tim. 2. 5. “God the Eternal Father was once a mortal man who passed through a school of earth life similar to that through which we are now passing”: John 4. 24. “He (Christ) was not begotten by the Holy Ghost”: Matt. 1. 20. Personal salvation is “that which man merits through his own acts through life and by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the (Mormon) gospel”: Eph. 2. 8-9.
Founded by Mary Eddy Baker (1821-1910). Incorporated as The Church of Christ (Scientist) in 1879.
Teachings. “Matter and evil—including all inharmony, sin, disease, death—are unreal”(!). “Jesus, as material manhood, was not Christ”: 1 John 2. 22. “If there had never existed such a person as the Galilean Prophet, it would make no difference to me (Mrs. Eddy)”. “That God’s wrath should be vented upon His beloved Son is divinely unnatural. Such a theory is man-made”: Isa. 53. 6. “His disciples believed Jesus to be dead while he was hidden in the sepulchre, whereas he was alive”: John 19. 30, 33.
Founded by Sun Myung Moon (1920- ). Formally organized as The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity in 1954.
Teachings. “The Bible, however, is not the truth itself, but a textbook teaching the truth … We must not regard the textbook as absolute in every detail”: John 17. 17. The Lord Jesus “is not God Himself’: John 1. 1. He “died on the cross, not of his own will, not of the will of God, but by the will of men”: John 10. 17, 18. “The Holy Spirit is a female Spirit”: John 16. 13, 14.
These quotations will suffice to establish the Satanic character of the teachings of these cults; cf. 1 Tim. 4. 1.
Young believers should attempt to gain some understanding of all the basic Christian doctrines. A knowledge of those passages of Scripture which teach and explain these doctrines is important. For those seeking a useful handbook of Christian doctrine, providing many biblical evidences for the fundamentals of the faith, I would recommend the Treasury of Bible Doctrine (Now Called The New Treasury of Bible Doctrine – available in the Precious Seed Shop).